Personal Finance

How to Save Money on Wedding Flowers

When they see the pictures, most people think I spent hundreds of dollars on my bridal bouquet. The truth is, I spent $180 on ALL of my flowers. That included my bouquet, five bridesmaids bouquets, my mom’s bouquet, a floral candelabra for the reception, 12 chair hangers for the aisle, and a rose-petal strewn aisle. My sister spent under $300 for her wedding flowers using the same techniques,…
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Credit Scores: How Do They Work?

FICO credit scores determine whether you’ll qualify for a loan or credit card, and if so, what your interest rate will be. A low score can cost you thousands of dollars over the life of a mortgage To help you learn more about this vital piece of information, I cover what goes into your scores and what you can do to fix them. How Credit Scores Are Determined…
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Save Money on Holiday Credit Card Interest

If you were counting on a holiday bonus or tax refund to pay off your holiday charges, you may not be able to. According to Hewitt Associates, 63% of companies surveyed don’t plan to give holiday bonuses this year. Due to the credit crunch, many businesses that previously offered bonuses have had to forgo them or scale them back. There’s a silver lining – many companies are switching…
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The 10-10-10 Rule for Spending

The April issue of Glamour Magazine features a short piece by Suzy Welch explaining the theory behind the 10-10-10 rule. The rule is simple: before you make a decision, ask yourself: “What will the consequences of my options be in 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years?” Then act accordingly. In her example, she describes a time she took her 2 young kids on a business trip to Hawaii, and…
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How to Use CVS Coupons and Extra Care Bucks

If you read many stay-at-home mom blogs, you’ve heard about the CVS Extra Care Bucks craze. It works like this: CVS was over-priced, so they started offering Extra Care Bucks on various products. When you buy that product, you earn back these bucks, which you can use to pay for other products. In addition, you can scan your Extra Care card at the store to print out CVS…
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Semi-Annual Household Budget Update

Last February, I showed you our monthly household budget and our cash-flow budget. Our cash flow budget is updated monthly, and sometimes more than once a month, but we haven’t updated our spending breakdown since February. Given the drastic changes in our debt load, and rising costs for gas and food, I decided to see how we’re doing seven months later. A Tale of Two Household Budgets This was…
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It’s Time for Preliminary Holiday Planning

So, this weekend I called my sister to tell her that I’d found my mom’s Christmas present. I haven’t bought it yet, but I know what it is unless Mom drops some hints that she’d like something else. To be fair, it was something I almost got her last year and then opted for something else, so it wasn’t a new idea. Nevertheless, my sister was a bit…
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The Dos and Don’ts of Combining Finances after the Wedding

Adam commented on my post about how we save 25% of our income. “I am just in the process of getting married, and learning about the whole process of combining our finances.” To help Adam, and any other couple, here’s a quick outline of the process. My husband and I agreed that we would set up a joint checking account after we got married. We could have set it…
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Guest Post: How Much Does a $100 Coat Cost?

Today features another guest post from Bradd. This time he encourages us to think about the true cost of goods we buy. It may have you thinking twice before you pick up that sale item this holiday season. With the end of the year and the Christmas shopping season coming up, I’ve been thinking recently about taxes and the prices of goods.  And a new coat. Maybe I’m looking…
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Preparing for Taxes: Deducting Charitable Donations

On Friday, I recommended that you avoid buying consumer goods to help a cause, and instead send a cash donation. If you’re able to itemize your tax returns, you get a nice bonus for your donation in the form of a tax deduction. You have to be careful that the organization you donate to actually qualifies for tax-exemption, but you can also deduct some non-cash donations and other surprising things.…
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